Roll top baths: your questions answered

Are you looking to add a touch of elegance to your bathroom? Look no further than roll top baths!

With its timeless design, this type of bath is the ultimate symbol of sophistication – but before you take the plunge and invest in one, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. From practical plumbing advice and on-trend design suggestions, we’ve got the answers to all your questions. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Copper bath with chrome brassware and a geometric stone table.
Clothilde bath in copper, £60458.40, Waterworks.

Why should I choose a roll top bath?

Short answer: they never go out of style. “The enduring appeal of roll top freestanding baths stems from its timeless design, versatility, and luxurious experience,” explains James Roberts, director of Sanctuary Bathrooms.

“It is one of the most iconic and decadent features associated with traditional-styled bathtubs for anyone wanting to represent their space’s late 19th or early 20th-century designs. With graceful curves and a period-style aesthetic, they have remained a symbol of elegance in bathrooms for many years,” adds James.

Large freestanding bath in the centre of a grand room with a big fireplace.
Blenheim single-ended bath, £1228, Burlington.

What sizes are available?

There is so much versatility these days in terms of sizes – from grand centrepiece designs to space-saving roll top baths. So, you are all set to find a solution to suit your bathroom. “Roll top baths come in a range of sizes including small, large, and even roll top shower baths, making them a viable option for all bathroom shapes and sizes,” says James. “The deep, spacious interior of these baths also help to create a luxurious bathing experience that appeals to those seeking relaxation and indulgence.”

White bath in front of a marble wall panel in a minimalist bathroom.
Harrow bath, £1650, Roper Rhodes.

Let’s talk about practicalities

When it comes to buying a roll top bath, there are a few practical elements you need to keep in mind. “A good starting point is consideration of the water feed and waste, which will ensure reasonable flow rates for feed and drainage. It is vital to ensure the floorboards and joists are sufficiently strong to hold the weight of the bath, the water, and the person (or people!) sitting in it,” says Adam.

Copper bath with Victorian brassware in a bathroom with blue metro tiles on the wall and terracotta flooring.
Cyprium copper bath, price on application, Cast Iron Bath Company. Photography: James French.

“A suitably qualified structural engineer should be consulted. It is important to consider where to store the towels, soap and other items when the bath is not in use, perhaps a nice piece of freestanding furniture,” he continues.

“A hot bath will generate a fair amount of steam and whilst wall coverings in bathrooms are often water resistant they rarely are in bedrooms, so thinking about ventilation becomes a requirement as it will also help prevent excess moisture in the atmosphere,” advises Adam.

You’ll also need to think about the position of your tap. “You’ll either need floor-mounted taps or wall-mounted, as there is no option for deck,” explains Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs. “However, these two options provide you with so much flexibility that it can go just about anywhere in the room.”

Minimalist design in a grand open-plan room with marble flooring.
Charsley tub in Matte Cream, £1497, Lusso.

How can I include this type of tub in my bathroom?

The best bit about roll top baths, apart from the wide range of sizes, is that they are available in lots of different materials – from cast iron and stone to copper and acrylic. If the space allows, a freestanding tub can truly make a stunning centrepiece.

What’s more, there are brands that can paint the exterior of your bath to order and offer you a myriad of options to choose from. If you pick this type of tub, why not opt for a matching basin or bathroom accessories for a mood-boosting atmosphere? Take your design one step further by choosing your tiles, paint and wallpaper solutions in the same tone to nail the colour-drenching technique.

Green bathroom with a green roll top bath, geometric flooring and brass accents.
Penny bath, £1986 plus £420 for the painting service, BC Designs.

If you prefer a more pared-back aesthetic, go with a minimalist bath, which allows you plenty of design opportunities. “Consider including matching vanity units, mirrors, and even toilet cistern housings, to allow the pieces in your room to flow together seamlessly,” recommends Mike Whitfield, interiors expert at luxury bathroom brand Lusso. And, if you opt for a bath with claw feet, ensure the finish matches to your brassware and hardware to tie the look together.

Blue and white bathroom, decorated with plants and flowers.
Heritage Bathrooms Baby Oban freestanding double-ended roll top bath, £828.72, available from Sanctuary Bathrooms.
The Tay cast iron skirted tub in pink, £5070, Drummonds.

Rapid fire questions

  • Can you have a shower over a roll top bath? Of course – just install a good curtain or enclosure to make sure that no water splashes out.
  • Can you have one in a small bathroom? Also, yes. Lots of designers have developed tiny baths ideal for more compact spaces.
  • Can they go against a wall? As the majority of roll-top baths are freestanding, the path can be placed anywhere.
Boat bath, similar bathroom from £39k (not including installation), Ripples Newbury.

Shop the look: colourful roll top baths

Here is a roundup of some of our favourite statement tubs to inspire your moodboard…

Roundup of six statement and colourful roll top baths.
1. Milano Legend Traditional double-ended freestanding slipper bath in Autumn Yellow, £999.99, Big Bathroom Shop. 2. Copper and white bath, £3160, Indigenous. 3. Tonbridge roll top bath, £479.99, Bathroom Mountain. 4. Admiral bath in Viva Magenta with Decò feet, from £6428.40, Devon & Devon. 5. Rimini cast iron bath, from £2806.93, Aston Matthews. 6. Apollo classic in pink, £4095, Albion Bath Co.

Enjoyed this post? Click here for advice on creating a spa bathroom at home

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